Question: When is a wand no longer wand? Answer: When it's a gun. And that's the biggest problem with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: It's conceptually ludicrous. As with last year's installment, developer EA Bright Light has envisioned the wands of Harry and his friends as guns--but instead of switching between weapons, you switch between spells. Stupefy isn't a stunning spell in this game: It's a pistol. Expulso isn't an exploding spell: It's a rapid-fire machine gun. Confringo isn't a blasting curse: It's a grenade launcher. And forget everything you know about apparating, which you probably never imagined as a short-range teleport. Perhaps this disrespectful take on the beloved Harry Potter license wouldn't be so disastrous if the resulting game were fun, but for the most part, it just isn't. Switching between spells provides some welcome variety in the second half of this unusually short cover-based shooter. Otherwise, Deathly Hallows Part 2 is tedious and dumb, failing both as a game and as a licensed product.
6323266The famed Battle of Hogsmeade.None
Deathly Hallows Part 2 takes events from the final Harry Potter film (and the second half of the book that spawned it) and shoehorns shooter tropes into them that make the proceedings as nonsensical as Luna Lovegood's ramblings. One such trope: the defend mission. In various levels, you must protect Hermione from enemies while she casts alohomora, the lock-opening spell. And each time, you'll be appalled at the ridiculousness of the entire idea. Since when does alohomora take five minutes to cast? What is Hermione doing all that time? How is it that doors within the super-secure Gringott's Bank can be opened with such an elementary spell? Another trope: the explosive-planting mission. In a particular chapter, you take control of Seamus Finnigan and plant charges of some sort around covered bridge in Hogwarts. What are these, magical C4 charges? This silly task is followed by an incongruous sniping mission that will make you wonder how far away you are from equipping an ACOG scope and having to reload your wand.
These issues constantly invade your mind as you move from one mission to the next, given how inappropriate these third-person shooter standards are in this magical universe. The game plays like a typical cover shooter: You take cover behind rubble and other objects neatly arranged in helpful patterns and then peek above or lean out to fire. You begin with stupefy, but you gradually unlock new spells, none of which function as they do in the novels. An authentic expelliarmus spell should knock a wand out of an opponent's hand, for example, but here, it's used to break an opponent's protego shield. Impedimenta is an immobilizing jinx in the novels, but in the game, it's a homing missile launcher. These may seem like nerdy nitpicks, but they raise the question: Who was this game made for? Certainly not for Harry Potter fans, who will cringe at such preposterousness. Fans will at least encounter a few saving graces, however. Considering the novel's Harry-specific point of view, it's nice to embody characters like Ginny Weasley and Professor McGonagall and see events like the Battle of Hogwarts from their points of view.
Playing as Seamus is no different than playing as Harry. Or as Ron. Or as any other character in the game.